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Copper Thief Sentenced to Two and a Half Years in Prison

James Dina says his drug addiction fueled his poor decisions.

A 34-year-old Cleveland man was sentenced to two and a half years in prison Wednesday after to 24 felony charges related to a in Cuyahoga County — including several churches in Lakewood.

James Dina, of 1011 Spring Rd., stood silently as he received the sentence from Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Eileen T. Gallagher.

At times, he expressed emotion during the proceedings.

“I hope everyone accepts my apologies,” he said, adding that it was an addiction to heroin that fueled his poor choices. “I wished this had never happened, but it’s a reality." 

There were four cases related to the 24 charges — a total of 16 charges breaking and entering, five charges of theft and vandalism, all fifth-degree felonies; disrupting public service, a fourth-degree felony; and second-degree felony burglary.

In the Lakewood case, Dina admitted from seven Lakewood churches, as well as . There were also a number of cases against him in Cleveland and Solon.

Dina faced 30 years in prison for the charges. Gallagher said she considered sending him to a drug treatment facility for his heroin addiction, but added that prison was the appropriate sentence.

 “I still consider these crimes serious,” she said.

Lakewood police Det. Pat Foye spoke on behalf of Dina at sentencing, noting that after he’d been caught, Dina showed detectives other places where he’d stolen copper downspouts.

 “We had him for one crime, and he admitted to 10,” Foye told the judge. “Without his assistance, we would have never tied in those other crimes.”

“There’s no way you or I could support habit like that, other than to steal."

Dina’s family, along with his attorney, Michael Shaughnessy, said that Dina was driven to steal because of his drug addiction.

“He realizes that he is not ready to go back onto the streets,” Shaughnessy said. “I really believe in James and his family.”

“Let’s see if we can get him back on track.”

Michael P Harvey April 06, 2011 at 10:57 PM
My question is who is buying this stuff? There is no crime without a market. If I showed up at a scrap yard with a bunch of downspouts the policy is "don't ask, and don't tell"??? What nonsense. This guy should do half his time and the community service half should be flipping these buyers who are driving the cooper thefts.
Nate Kelly April 07, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Yes James, I'm sure all your victimes have accepted your apologies. You were on herion and needed money for drugs, so they had to pay. But... at least you apologized.
Renee April 07, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Well, actually Gaspipe Bob, the majority of his "victims", including the lakewood churches HAVE forgiven him, even going out of their way to come visit him in jail and make peace with him and get to know him as a person, not the addict. Unfortuantly, he does have an addiction that lead to this. He will pay his debt to society, but you should also know that his victims have forgiven him, even writing about their visit with him in their church newsletters and saying how the church offers prayers for James and his family!! :-)
Tfacey April 08, 2011 at 01:34 AM
I would love to hear his whole story. People don't "choose" heroin addictions. Many are pushed there by their doctors.

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